How to Get to General Santos - Philippines

There are many different transportation options whenever you're planning a trip to General Santos City, otherwise known to the locals as their beloved Gensan. Your options are to travel by air or by sea. Though your travel options may be varied, you should check which ones are more convenient or more practical for you. We have also added other options you might want to take as an alternative if flights are fully booked or otherwise unavailable.

How to get to General Santos by Plane

There are many transportation options to get to General Santos City. One of the most convenient ways to get there is to travel by plane. The General Santos International Airport serves all flights coming in and out of the city. It is the Philippines’ second largest airport and has daily flights to and from Cebu and Manila.

The most viable air routes is to fly into the city are via the daily flights coming from the nation’s capital, Manila, or through the Queen City of the South, Cebu. You can choose from various airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Philippines. You may choose a flight according to schedule or according to fare price as some airlines offer cheaper rates than others.

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Philippine Airlines

Philippine Airlines is the country’s flag carrier and is the oldest commercial airline in the entirety of Asia that still operates under its founding name. This airline is locally called PAL, and serves flights to 19 different destinations in the country. Other than its domestic flights, it also serves flights to 24 destinations outside of the country. It operates through its hubs in Manila in the north and Cebu City in the country’s southern regions.

PAL has flights in and out of General Santos City on a daily basis. Budget airfare from Philippine Airlines is ranges from Php 1,800 to Php 2,800, which includes taxes and other charges. The more expensive flights will cost you some Php 7,000 to Php 8,500. You get to choose which available flight you can take. Do take note of special promotional offers that can get you some great discounts.

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Cebu Pacific

This airline is formally known as Cebu Air Incorporated. It ranks as the third biggest low cost airline in Asia. It is owned by JG Summit Holdings, Inc. It has hubs in Manila, Cebu, Pampanga, and Davao. The airline headquarters is located at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. It serves 50 destinations with a total fleet size of 29 aircraft.

There are those who prefer this airline above the others due to relatively low fare prices or because this it offers a lot of promotional discounts. However, the regular airfare from Manila to General Santos City is at Php 1,800 to Php 1,900 while the more expensive flights will cost some Php 2,200 to Php 2,300. The flight from Cebu will cost you some Php 1,400 to Php 1,600.

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Air Philippines

Air Philippines is low-cost airlines that also serve flights to General Santos City. Its parent company is PAL Holdings Inc. It has its headquarters in Pasay City. With its fleet size of 10 aircraft, it serves 18 flights all over the country.

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PAL Express

PAL Express is a subsidiary of the Philippines’ flag carrier, Philippine Airlines. It is one of the two budget airlines that serve flights to General Santos City, the other airline being Air Philippines. The airline company was founded in 2008 and has its head office in Pasay City. It operating hub is the Mactan-Cebu International Airport but it also flies intra regional routes and smaller operations in PAL’s Manila hub.

Those who are looking for cheaper flights into Gensan may look into the travel offers provided by this airline. PAL flies to this city of the south once a day from the nation’s capital, Manila. It also flies once a day from Cebu City. You can book PAL Express flights from Gensan at the PAL ticketing office located in the Allied Bank Building on P. Acharon Boulevard.

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Getting into General Santos City by Boat

Another option to get to General Santos City is travel by boat. The city’s Makar Wharf is one of the busiest in the Philippines and is also considered by many as one of the best wharfs in the country. This wharf’s docking length measures up to 740 meters with a width of 19 meters. It connects the city via waterways to major destinations in the country and a few destinations in nearby countries.

This seaport has boat trips scheduled to and from Iloilo City, Manila, and Cebu City. The routes in and out of the city are served by at least four ferry companies. Negros Navigation, Sulpicio Lines, and Super Ferry serve passengers to various domestic destinations. Indonesian Shipping Lines serve routes to and from Indonesia.

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Super Ferry

WG & A Super Ferry is one of the ferry companies that serve passengers getting into and out of General Santos City. The ferry company was formed in 1995 due to an amalgamation of three companies namely Williams Lines, Carlos Gothong Lines, and Aboitiz Shipping, thus the initials on the company’s moniker. It is the largest shipping lines in the Philippines to date.

Their main office is at the 12th floor of the Times Plaza Building located at the corner of UN Avenue and Taft Avenue in Manila. However, you can get your tickets in any of their ticketing offices spread throughout the country. Getting a trip via Super Ferry will have you travel via Manila to Bacolod or Manila to Zamboanga and then to Gensan. If you’re coming from the south you can take the trip from Davao to Gensan.

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Negros Navigation

This company started out as a form of inter-island transportation initially intended for the provinces of Negros and Panay, both provinces are sugar rich economies in the Visayas Region of the Philippines. This shipping and ferry company was established in 1932 and has its headquarters at Pier II in Manila’s North Harbor. The company has seven vessels in its fleet and serves various inter island destinations.

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Sulpicio Lines

Sulpicio Lines is one of the shipping companies that operate inter-island ferries in the Philippines. It is also one of your ferry options if you want to travel to General Santos City by boat. This ferry company has been around since 1973 and was founded by Don Sulpicio Go. Mr. Go was once the general manager of Carlos Gothong Lines, one of the three companies that formed WG & A Super Ferry.

Don Sulpicio Go at one time decided to establish his own shipping business and founded his own company. The Sulpicio Lines office in Manila is located at 415 San Fernando Street in Binondo. There is also a Manila terminal office that you can find in Pier 12 on Tondo’s North Harbor. They also have a Cebu office in the Don Sulpicio Go Building along Sulpicio Go Street in the city’s reclamation area.

Sulpicio Lines has 17 seagoing vessels in its fleet and 12 cargo vessels. Their routes basically cover many southern islands. Other than trips to General Santos City, they also serve passengers en route to Davao, Iloilo, Cebu, Zamboanga, Tacloban, Dumaguete, Tagbilaran, Ormoc, Dipolog, and Dumaguete. You can book trips in their offices or purchase tickets in various ticketing offices in Manila and other cities in the Philippines.

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Husky Lines

One of the major means of transportation in General Santos City is traveling by bus. There are three major bus companies that take the routes going in and out of the city. Husky Lines is one of these three major companies, Holiday Bus and Yellow Bus Lines are the other two. Husky Lines has been around for years though it isn’t the biggest one among the three.

Their buses primarily ply the routes from General Santos to Koronadal City and Cotabato City. Passengers usually get on one of their buses via the integrated public terminals in each city. Each bus company will have a parking area in each of these terminals. Buses in General Santos leave for Koronadal every 20 minutes and the trip lasts for about an hour. The trip from Koronadal to Cotabato on the other hand will last around three hours.

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Getting to General Santos City by Bus

One of the interesting options to get to the city from various locations in the country is via bus. If you’re traveling all the way from the island of Luzon then you will have to travel to Manila, the Philippine capital. From Manila you can buy tickets from one of the bus companies that ply a southern route like Philtranco.

Buses heading to the southern islands of the country will take the route through the Bicol Region all the way down to the southernmost parts of Luzon. From there the bus will be ferried to Samar and the trip continues until you get to Leyte in the Visayas Region. The long trip doesn’t end there as it seems since you have to travel all the way to Davao in Mindanao. The three local bus companies that transport passengers to and from General Santos City are Husky Lines, Holiday Bus Lines, and Yellow Bus Lines.

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Yellow Bus Lines

Yellow Bus Lines, or YBL, is one of the respected and oldest bus companies that ply the city’s route. You basically get on one of their buses if you want to travel to and from Koronadal City, Davao City, and the Upper Valley areas. This bus company is actually based in Koronadal. The trip to Davao will take about three hours while the bus ride to Koronadal will take only about 45 minutes.

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Holiday Bus

Holiday Bus is another bus company that plies the same route as YBL. The only difference is that YBL is more popular than Holiday Bus. Traveling from Davao to Gensan will require you to get on a bus at the Overland Transport Terminal in Davao’s Ecoland. The bus fare from Davao to General Santos is at P165 but deluxe buses have their fares at P100.

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These are your Gensan travel options. Pick the travel option that is more convenient or otherwise practical. Take note of alternative means of transportation in case some options are unavailable.

Jeepneys

Jeepneys are also another major means of transportation in General Santos City. They usually go around the major roads in the city. These vehicles are the most accessible means of transport and at times they can become the cheapest. You can get on a jeepney at designated loading and unloading zones or just anywhere along the side of the road where the jeeps conventionally pick up or drop off passengers.

Like in the rest of the Philippines, passengers hail a jeep to get on and signal or call out to the driver when getting off. The minimum fare for jeepneys is pegged below Php 10. It’s stuck at Php 7 for the first four kilometers but may go up or down depending on market trends and negotiations with the government’s transportation regulatory office.

The fixed routes jeepneys take is usually indicated on the side of its body or a signboard on the windshield. Sometimes you will have to transfer from one jeepney to the other in order to get to a certain destination. Some jeepneys may be hired in case you want to go to a destination that isn’t usually part of a jeepney route.

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Multi Cab

This is another main transportation in General Santos City. It’s an alternative to a jeepney and is relatively faster. However, just like the passenger cabins of jeepneys, they have open windows so the passengers are exposed to dust and smoke from the streets. The number of passengers these vehicles can hold is relatively smaller, which simply means more leg room. Fares for this mode of transportation start at Php 10 or Php 15 depending on the destination. Some multi cabs can also be hired for private service to take you to a desired destination.

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Tricycles

Tricycles are also one of the readily available modes of public transportation in General Santos City. These are motorbikes outfitted with a passenger cab on the side. You generally have to hail one or go to a tricycle terminal where they are usually lined up to pick up passengers. Tricycles will take you to nearby destinations. The fares are sometimes jacked up in case tourists hire them or if you have a lot of luggage or personal belongings to load. The minimum tricycle fare in the Philippines is below Php 20.

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